Photo: Gareth Bale at Real Madrid
“It’s a dream for me to be in Madrid,” Welsh international Gareth Bale said here Monday as Real Madrid formally introduced its latest addition in front of some 25,000 delighted fans at Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
“Thanks for this great welcome. Let’s go, Madrid!,” the 24-year-old midfielder said in Spanish before receiving his first Blancos shirt from club president Florentino Perez.
Bale arrived in the Spanish capital late Sunday to sign a six-year contract with Real Madrid as a months-in-the-making deal finally materialized.
Though none of the parties has publicly disclosed the sums involved, British media say Real Madrid paid London club Tottenham Hotspur a record 101 million euros ($133.5 million) for Bale, who scored 26 goals in the Premier League last season.
Spanish news outlets, meanwhile, report the transfer fee was around 91 million euros, less than the 94 million euros the Blancos shelled out in 2009 for Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I wanted to come here even if it was for a penny,” Bale said Monday in Madrid. “I don’t think any player really knows their price tag. It is something between the two clubs and not really my place to say.
The newcomer also stressed his respect for the Blancos’ incumbent superstar, Ronaldo.
“Ronaldo is the boss here, he’s the main player and the best player in the world so I want to learn off him,” Bale said.
Following the presentation in the stands, the Welshman changed into his new Real Madrid kit and took to the field to kick the ball around.